Fox News sends a Cease and Desist to Media Matters over the ‘Foxleaks’ videos

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Do you remember those Media Matters videos where the fun police Matthew Gertz showed that Tucker Carlson did horrible things like telling Media Matters to ‘go f—k themselves’ and asked if women had pillow fights in the bathroom? (Wait… do they?)

Well, if you missed them, we invite you to look at those posts and point and laugh at Media Matters for being a bunch of silly scolds:

But today, we got a plot twist. Fox News sent a cease-and-desist letter to Media Matters.

And you can read the whole thing, here:

Yes, that’s it. That’s all of it. Anyone who has written or received these kinds of letters would probably recognize this is weak sauce. For instance, the bare minimum is to describe how these releases are actionable—meaning something Fox can sue them over—or at least say specifically what you might do if they don’t cut it out. But we get nothing but vagueness on both counts.

We have speculated in the past that the origin of these ‘leaks’ is a clumsy attempt by Fox News to make Mr. Carlson look bad (that has been backfiring with everyone but those who have a stick up their hindquarters), and Megyn Kelly apparently feels certain on this point:

This cease-and-desist letter is so bare bones, it feels like nothing more than just a gesture, to pretend they are upset when they aren’t actually upset. It feels like Captain Renault shouting ‘I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here’ in Casablanca.

Media Matters is having fun with it, and, honestly, we don’t blame them. At least they are capable of fun. It’s a start. Their President and CEO, Angelo Carusone, wrote the following:

Media Matters also put out an official statement repeating the crack about Hunter Biden’s laptop and Wikileaks:

(However, for the record, Hunter Biden’s laptop was reportedly abandoned. If that is true, the data was not stolen.)

And, of course, they are trying to playing victim:

What Media Matters is obviously trying to do is drum up a Streisand Effect. We don’t blame them, but that is what they are obviously up to.

(If you don’t know, the term ‘Streisand Effect’ refers to how efforts to suppress a story, especially by the legal threats or the abuse of the legal system, often calls more attention to a story than if one just ignored it. If you are told you are not allowed to look at something, many people want to look at it even more.)

Fox News knows about the Streisand Effect. A search on their website reveals multiple hits. This tweet links to one of them:

So, was Fox News trying for a Streisand Effect? It is hard to believe they thought this weak sauce letter would be successful so it seems rational to suspect that they wanted such an effect. But if one believes that the goal of the cease-and-desist was 1) to try to rebut the theory that the leaked video came from them, and 2) to draw attention to these videos, it is remarkably inept, because anyone who thinks the videos are hurting Mr. Carlson’s reputation is a fool. And yes, that includes Mr. Gertz and Mr. Carusone. We believe they are correct to say they have a right to publish these videos, we just don’t see how it advances any of their goals.

Not that we want them to stop. We’ve already gotten two posts out of this, both enjoying the videos and pointing-and-laughing at the scolds scandalized by them. We wouldn’t mind more.

But if that isn’t all strange enough, there is a further plot twist. This isn’t even the first version of the cease-and-desist letter:

Oy vey.

Naturally, this led to mockery:

But one person had a softer take:

Fair point.

Anyway, speaking of weenie scolds, not long after we learned that Kayleigh McEnany is going to (temporarily) take Tucker Carlson’s slot on Fox News, we see local freedom expert™ Tom Nichols clutching his pearls on a joke Ms. McEnany told:

If you actually watch the video, it’s a decent joke and Nichols is an expert on being a sourpuss.


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